updated 12:35 pm EST, Wed January 23, 2008
MPAA: We were wrong
A 2005 study grossly distorted the role of colleges in movie piracy, the Motion Picture Association of America now admits. Commissioned by the trade group, the study blamed a massive 44 percent of all domestic piracy on college students, who frequently have access not only to broadband Internet connections but high-speed local networks. The MPAA is currently telling educational groups that the figure was a result of "human error," and is in fact closer to just 15 percent, the Associated Press writes.
The correction may be especially important politically, as the MPAA had previously been using the bad data to push legislation before the US House of Representatives. The House is still examining proposed laws that would force colleges to clamp down on file sharing. Regardless of the new information, the MPAA insists that schools should still clamp down in some manner.
Even this is disputed by Educause, a group that promotes the spread of IT in higher education. VP Mark Luker claims that over 80 percent of college students live off campus, a fact which the MPAA is said to ignore. In reality, says Luker, colleges may account for just three percent of piracy traffic in the US.